Updated: Case McCoy comes in to lead Texas to win

11 Comments

Updated 3:27 p.m. ET: Early in the fourth quarter and down 14-7, Texas made a quarterback change from David Ash to Case McCoy — and then called seven straight run plays.

The Longhorns’ final offensive drive of the game, however, showed why Mack Brown made the change. McCoy missed his first two passes before completing his next five, including the game-winning touchdown to D.J. Grant, and UT escaped a tight one against Kansas 21-17.

But the long-term damage may already be done.

For one, Texas once again will have to answer quarterback questions about Ash and McCoy. Brown might insist Ash is still the guy going forward, but McCoy is the one that got the job done today when it mattered most. What do you tell him? Sorry, it’s not good enough?

Secondly, this win is not just a win. It’s Kansas (sorry, Kansas) and there’s no good reason Texas should even be playing it this close. It wasn’t until midway through the fourth quarter that the Longhorns realized that, yes, they have better, faster skill guys than the Jayhawks. Johnathan Gray was practically the only offensive weapon that was utilized the way he should have been. There’s no excuse for that.

Sure, Kansas deserves credit for playing tough and having an opportunity to win, but there was only one way to make sure Brown’s critics didn’t yell louder after today: beat the ever-living daylights out of the Jayhawks. That didn’t happen. A loss to Kansas would have arguably been the lowest of the lows for the Mack Brown era. Still, I’m not sure this wasn’t the worst win of the Brown era, either.

I’m not saying Brown gets fired after this year, but I am saying that the teeth-gnashing and groans won’t go away until Texas starts winning games like the most profitable and recognizable brand with the best resources in college football should.

————————————–

Something something something… schematic advantage… something something something… saw Texas practice on the Longhorn Network.

That might be what you hear Charlie Weis saying on his way to the locker room at halftime with his Kansas Jayhawks holding on to a 14-7 lead over Texas.

Like West Virginia, Texas’ defense — tackling especially — is too easy to keep beating down. The Jayhawks are running the ball effectively and, well, that’s about it. When combined with a late second quarter interception of David Ash, it’s enough.

Texas has no momentum after scoring an early touchdown. Freshman running back Johnathan Gray has been the most productive player with 51 yards on the ground, but he only has four touches.

Clearly, there’s plenty of time for Texas to come back and take control in the second half. But even if the Longhorns come back and win convincingly, murmurs of dissatisfaction with Mack Brown are going to keep growing slowly louder.

Oregon LB arrested for removing parking boot dismissed by Ducks

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In April, Fotu Leiato was arrested on a couple of charges related to the illegal removal of a parking boot from his vehicle.  A month later, we’ve learned Leiato was given the boot from his current football program for good measure.

247Sports.com was the first to report that Leiato has been dismissed by first-year Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal.  Further to the point, the linebacker’s dismissal came a day after his April arrest but the news didn’t surface until Thursday.

In the April incident, Leiato was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and criminal trespassing.  That was actually his second arrest this year as he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing in January.

The combination of the two arrests led Cristobal to pull the trigger on a dismissal.

Coming to Eugene as a three-star safety, Leiato played in 37 of 38 games the past three seasons.  The Washington native earned the first start of his collegiate playing career during the 2017 season.

The senior had been in line to earn a starting job exiting spring and heading into the summer phase of the offseason.

LB Darrin Kirkland announces transfer from Tennessee

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Darren Kirkland‘s injury-plagued time on Rocky Top has come to an end.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Kirkland announced that he has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee football program.  The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to move on from the Volunteers.

“Tennessee will always hold a special place in my heart,” Kirkland wrote. “These moments have been priceless and I’m a better player and man from this experience.”

As a graduate transfer, Kirkland would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2018.  Not only that, but he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining counting this year.

A four-star 2015 signee, Kirkland started 10 games as a true freshman and then another six in a sophomore campaign marred by a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games.  In summer camp last year, he suffered a knee injury severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 season.

The rehab from that injury kept Kirkland from being a full participant in Pruitt’s first spring practice this year.

North Texas dropping $625,000 to install new turf that naturally includes new design

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seth Littrell has done a great job turning around the program at North Texas but fans getting a look at the 2018 edition of his team will notice something right away that’s different when they take the field for the home opener: new turf. The Denton Record Chronicle reports that UNT is ponying up $625,245 for the latest “FieldTurf CoolPlay” turf at Apogee Stadium.

“We are excited about the turf,” Littrell said recently, according to the paper. “It was much needed. That turf has been used a lot and has gotten worn down. The new field will improve safety and will be a great resource for our kids.”

The old turf had a good run at the stadium after being installed back in 2011 but obviously the summer heat and 300+ pound bodies playing football will cause a little wear and tear. The Record Chronicle says that “North Texas” and “Mean Green” will be the end zones text while the midfield school logo will include a “dark green outline of the state of Texas.”

Completion of the project is expected to be done well in time for the first game against SMU in September. The school has released some shots of Apogee Stadium without the old turf and it certainly looks kind of wild to see a stadium sans a playing field:

Kansas State AD open to scheduling Nebraska in the future

Getty Images
1 Comment

Conference realignment ended a bunch of big rivalries, from the major (Texas-Texas A&M) to the mundane. Former Big 8 and Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Nebraska were somewhere on the middle of that scale after playing each other in football for decades. While nobody is clamoring for the two to get together quite like they are the Longhorns and Aggies, there’s plenty who would still love to see them schedule a non-conference series given how close Lincoln and the Little Apple are to each other (135 miles across the border).

Wildcats athletic director Gene Taylor has been in the job just over a year and it seems like he’s very aware of the scheduling situation between the two schools and is open to getting something done eventually. He was asked about adding the Cornhuskers to the slate in a Q&A on the school’s website and had this to say:

“That is a school that makes a lot of sense,” said Taylor. “We are pretty well-scheduled out in football with our one Power Five opponent, but we do play them in baseball and have had conversations in men’s basketball. If the opportunity were to arise, they are someone we would certainly entertain if it made sense for us.”

KSU is fully booked on the scheduling front through 2022 but have been open to adding home-and-homes with former Big 12 opponents with Missouri on tap for 2022/23 and Colorado on 2027/28. They’ve got a Power Five opponent on the docket until 2031 so it seems like the team wouldn’t be able to get something done with Nebraska until after then. That is, to say the least, a long ways away.

Who knows, maybe they’ll be able to meet in a bowl game at some point over the next few years. The Cornhuskers and Wildcats last met in 2010 in a series that is heavily weighted to Big Red. At least Taylor is leaving the door open and leaving a chance of the two programs hooking back up on the gridiron.